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Women in STEM; History, Education, Inspiration and a Holiday you’ll LOVE.

Celebrate this Intentional Holiday with Girls that Rule the World!

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Houston, we have a Problem.

There’s not enough women on this Space Ship!

According to the UN, both gender equality and science are stated “vital” for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The United Nations states the last 15 years our global community has made great efforts to inspire and engage females in science. “Yet, women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science. At present, less than 30 percent of researchers worldwide are women.” Source

“According to UNESCO data (2014–2016), only around 30 percent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. Globally, female students’ enrollment is particularly low in ICT (3 percent), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5 percent) and in engineering, manufacturing and construction (8 percent).” Source

“Long-standing biases and gender stereotypes are steering girls and women away from science related fields. As in the real world, the world on screen reflects similar biases — the 2015 Gender Bias Without Borders study by the Geena Davis Institute showed that of the onscreen characters with an identifiable STEM job, only 12 per cent were women.” Source.

Boys, we Chemistry Chicks found a Solution.

Okay, well, despite my cool chem jokes, it was the UN that actually announced this solution. hehe.
Alas, it pleased many of the Lovely Ladies in STEM. “In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212 declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.” Source.

Celebrating women and supporting minorities has long been a part of my work, but when The United Nations declared February 11 “International Day of Women and Girls in Science Day”, my “she-nerd” could not be contained. The young girl in me that wanted to be a cool scientist, like my heroes; leap for joy for a day designed to celebrate women of science; past and present.

Enjoy this list of astounding ladies to commemorate International Day of Women and Girls in Science Day.

Add your favorite #FemSTEM Leaders in the comments below.

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Historical Women in STEM

Ada Lovelace is considered to be the founder of scientific computing and the first computer programmer. Her algorithm — which history has come to know as the first one designed for a machine to carry out — was intended to be used for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, which Lovelace would sadly not see built during her lifetime. Lovelace passed away in 1852, but her previously little-known work and “poetical” approach to science has broken through to inspire present-day young women interested in computer programming. Source.

Rosalind Franklin was a British chemist and crystallographer, best known for her research that was essential to elucidating the structure of DNA. During her lifetime, Franklin was not credited for her key role, but years later she is recognized as providing a pivotal piece of the DNA story. Franklin spent the last five years of her life studying the structure of plant viruses and passed away in 1958. Source.

Sally Ride transformed history when she became the first American woman to fly into space on June 18, 1983. After her second shuttle flight, Ride decided to retire from NASA and pursue her passion for education by inspiring young people. As a result, she founded Sally Ride Science, an organization dedicated to supporting students interested in STEM. Ride passed away in 2012, but her work continues to inspire young women across the country. Source.

Rachel Carson was a marine biologist and environmentalist — whose groundbreaking book, Silent Spring, has been credited as the catalyst for the modern environmental movement. Carson passed away in 1964, but her work has been credited with the legacy of “awakening the concern of Americans for the environment.”Source.

Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper was at the forefront of computer and programming language development from the 1930s through the 1980s. One of the crowning achievements of her 44-year career was the development of computer languages written in English, rather than mathematical notation — most notably, the common business computing language known as COBOL, which is still in use today. Hopper’s legacy is still honored by the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference. Source.

Mary Engle Pennington was an American chemist at the turn of the 20th century. At a time when few women attended college, Pennington completed her PhD and went on to work as a bacteriological chemist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Shortly after arriving at the USDA, Pennington became chief of the newly established Food Research Laboratory. During her 40-year career at the USDA, Pennington’s pioneering research on sanitary methods of processing, storing, and shipping food led to achievements such as the first standards for milk safety as well as universally accepted standards for the refrigeration of food products. Source.


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Teams of Women that Changed the World

The ENIAC Programmers As part of a secret World War Two project, six young women programmed the first all-electronic programmable computer. When the project was eventually introduced to the public in 1946, the women were never introduced or credited for their hard work — both because computer science was not well understood as an emerging field, and because the public’s focus was on the machine itself. Since then, the ENIAC Programmers Project has worked hard to preserve and tell the stories of these six women. Source.

The Mercury 13, also sometimes known as the “Members of the First Lady Astronaut Trainees” (FLATs), were a group of women who participated in training to become astronauts for the country’s first human spaceflight program in the early 1960s. FLATs was never an official NASA program, and was unfortunately eventually discontinued, but the commitment and determination of these women to get into space has been credited with paving the way for such astronauts as Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space. Source.

Calutron Girls. Isolating enriched uranium was one of the most difficult aspects of the Manhattan Project, which produced the first nuclear bombs during World War II. Wartime labor shortages led the Tennessee Eastman Company to recruit young women, who were mostly recent high school graduates, to operate the calutrons that used electromagnetic separation to isolate uranium. Despite being kept in the dark on the specifics of the project, the “Calutron Girls” proved to be highly adept at operating the instruments and optimizing uranium production, achieving better rates for production than the male scientists they worked with. Source.


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Present Heroes

Maria Klawe, growing up as a self-described outcast pursued her passion for technology and became a prominent computer scientist. Klawe is now the first female president of Harvey Mudd College and works hard to ignite passion about STEM fields amongst diverse groups. During her tenure at Harvey Mudd College, her work has helped support the Computer Science faculty’s ability to innovate, and has raised the percentage of women majoring in computer science from less than 15 percent to more than 40 percent today. Source.

Lydia Villa-Komaroff is considered to be a trailblazer in the field of molecular biology. She faced many adversities she faced throughout her lifetime — at one point, an advisor told her that women did not belong in chemistry, fortuitously inspiring her to switch her major to biology — but she pursued her passion in spite of opposition. In 1978, Villa-Komaroff made waves with a published paper detailing her most notable discovery — that bacteria could be engineered to produce human insulin. She currently serves as the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Cytonome/ST. Source.

Virginia H. Holsinger was an American chemist known for her research on dairy products and food security issues. Holsinger developed a nutritious and shelf-stable whey and soy drink mixture that is distributed internationally by food donation programs as a substitute for milk. She also created a grain blend that can be mixed with water to provide food for victims of famine, drought, and war. Additionally, her work on the lactase enzyme formed the basis for commercial products to make milk digestible by lactose-intolerant people. Through these discoveries, Holsinger’s work has had a major impact on worldwide public health. Source.

Katherine Johnson, an African-American space scientist and mathematician, is a leading figure in American space history and has made enormous contributions to America’s aeronautics and space programs by her incorporation of computing tools. She played a huge role in calculating key trajectories in the Space Race — calculating the trajectory for Alan Shepard, the first American in space, as well as for the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon. Johnson is now retired, and continues to encourage students to pursue careers in science and technology fields. Source.

Fei-Fei Li (1976- present) is a Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University. She is currently the Co-Director of Stanford University’s Human-Centered AI Institute and the Stanford Vision and Learning Lab. She served as the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) from 2013 to 2018. In 2017, she co-founded AI4ALL, a nonprofit organization working to increase diversity and inclusion in the field of artificial intelligence. Her research expertise includes artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, deep learning, computer vision and cognitive neuroscience. She was the leading scientist and principal investigator of ImageNet. Source


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Women In Blockchain

Elizabeth Stark is the co-founder and CEO of Lightning Labs. Lightning Labs is the company that is building the next generation of decentralized financial infrastructure. Lightning is an open protocol layer that makes blockchains scalable and flexible to support a new wave of financial applications. The lightning network is a Layer 2 scaling solution for Bitcoin which allows users to utilize payment routing and payment channels with low fees and immense speed. Stark has led the Lighting Labs and the development of the lightning network. Stark aims to help Bitcoin reach a point where it will be adopted by the masses for both small and large retail purchases. She is also a fellow researcher at Coin Center, the leading non-profit research and advocacy center, which focuses on public policy issues relating to cryptocurrency and decentralized computing technologies such as Ethereum and Bitcoin. Elizabeth Stark holds a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard. She has taught at Yale and Stanford. Elizabeth Stark is certainly a highly valued contributor to the blockchain space.

Rachel Wolfson is a cryptocurrency and blockchain journalist and is also a co-host at ‘The Bad Crypto’ podcast. She is a contributor at Forbes and Huffington Post. She has motivated many women enthusiasts and has worldwide experience in writing about technology. She has graduated from the University of Texas in Austin and holds a degree in B.A. (English, Government). She holds a master’s degree from Tel Aviv University in Security and Diplomacy. She is a blockchain guru and a board advisor for a blockchain-based supply chain management company. She was recently named one among the top five women who are working to change the world of crypto.

Caitlin Long brings her 22 years of Wall Street knowledge to the blockchain sector. She is the former Chairwoman and President at Symbiont is a leader in the smart contracts platform for the financial sector utilizing blockchain technology. On her website,, Caitlin announced she recently left Symbiont to pursue other blockchain ventures. On her website and through her Twitter account she shares her musings on blockchain, Bitcoin, and the future of the industry.

Dr. Julie Albright describes herself as a digital sociologist. She currently works as a Lecturer in the Psychology of Interactive Media at the University of Southern California. Additionally, she is an Advisor at DNXCommunity. DNXCommunity is a Digital Nomad platform that is built on the Ethereum blockchain and is designed to provide a decentralized platform for the remote worker community. Dr. Julie Albright has been featured on the Today Show, CNN, and in the Wall Street Journal among other media outlets. She often Tweets and shares content with her nearly 20,000 followers relating to technology, including cryptocurrency, and its effect on human behavior.

Elizabeth McCauley has contributed to the mass adoption of Bitcoin in the United States. She has served as an intern and staff assistant to the United States congressmen. She has graduated in political science from Wheaton College. Till March 2018, she was a member of the Board of Directors at The Bitcoin Foundation. She is now the blockchain business development and marketing consultant at various companies. She is also an advisor at the BitGive Foundation and Coin Congress.

Thankfully, despite odds, women are recently filling books with inspiring, world altering accomplishments. The leaders noted, and many other ladies, have opened the door to opportunities for all of us.
Thanks to the amazing women who were teased, overlooked, taken advantage of; and still continue to “shrug it off” and outshine their peers with perseverance, brain and wit.

Today and everyday, celebrate women and assist our next generation in the pursuit of seeing more Females in STEM.

To rise to the challenges of the 21st century, we need to harness our full potential. That requires dismantling gender stereotypes. On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let’s pledge to end the gender imbalance in science”, said António Guterres UN Secretary-General.

Remember; this can’t change without your help; “Training for and pursuing a career in science can be treacherous for women; many more begin than ultimately complete at every stage. Characterizing this as a pipeline problem, however, leads to a focus on individual women instead of structural conditions.”

Enobong Hannah Branch, Pathways, Potholes, and the Persistence of Women in Science: Reconsidering the Pipeline Source.

Being an active Woman in STEM/Women in Blockchain I can personally relate to this powerful quote. In efforts to show support to the ladies that have overcome tremendous battles to bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics to you; I hope you each take the time to thank a female that’s been a STEM-inspiration and personally touched your life or work.

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Hey. Boys. You Paying Attention?

That’s right. I’m talking to you, dudes. I have something to tell you. Thank you.
Ladies, don’t forget to give a special “thank you” to our STEM Gentlemen. Without the support of wonderful, fearless male leaders that raise women up; we may not be as far as we’ve come.


Remember; it’s a team effort. ‘Behind every great man there’s a great woman’ was adopted as a slogan for the 1960–70s feminist movement, after first being used in Meryll Frost’s story ‘Most courageous athlete of 1945’ Source.

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Calling all Ladies (and Men!)
With Sustainable Development Goal 9, part of the Global Goals that world leaders agreed to in 2015 with a deadline of 2030, countries around the world have pledged to “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let’s change this narrative”. Boldly states the United Nations. Source.

The UN, GIVE Nation, Women In Blockchain and others, ask you to join us in celebrating women and girls who are leading innovation and call for actions to remove all barriers holding us back.

Join the conversation using:

#WomenInScience #GIVENation #WomenInSTEM #GirlsWhoCode #WomenInBlockchain #WomenInBlockchainFoundation

Special thanks to Patricia Grm for inspiration and International Day of Women an Girls in Science content for GIVE Nation Magazine.

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Alyze Sam

Alyze Sam

Life is less complicated when you’re pure of heart and mind. #WomenInBlockchain